Smooth and Creamy Dishes Beyond Soup

Craving Something Smooth and Creamy?

Go beyond soups to smoothies, sauces, dips, and more

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

If your eating plan prescribes cream-based soups, that doesn't mean you have to consume cup after cup of New England clam chowder or cream of broccoli. In fact, many foods that fit into the "cream-based soup" category have only a little to do with "cream" and nothing to do with "soup." These are foods such as:

  • Smoothies (1 cup serving = 1 cream-based soup serving)
  • Light dips (about 1/3 cup serving of light dip = 1 cream-based serving)
  • Light cheese sauce and other sauces (1/2 cup serving of sauce = 1 cream-based soup serving)
  • Light puddings and custards (1/2 cup serving = 1 cream-based soup serving)

But before we get going on some fun alternatives for this category, here is a list of some actual cream-based soups (available at most supermarkets) that are super-easy to fix and come close to the program's nutrition guidelines:

Canned Cream-Based Soups

  • Snow's New England Clam Chowder made with 2% milk (1 cup) = 150 calories, 8 g protein, and 4 grams fat
  • Campbell's Chunky Chicken & Dumplings (3/4 cup) = 142 calories, 7 g protein, 6.5 g fat
  • Progresso Creamy Tomato (3/4 cup) = 142 calories, 3 g protein, 4.5 g fat
  • Campbell's Chunky Chicken Broccoli Cheese & Potato (3/4 cup) = 142 calories, 5 g protein, 9 g fat
  • Campbell's Select New England Clam Chowder (1 cup) = 110 calories, 6 g protein, 1.5 g fat
  • Campbell's Chunky Baked Potato with Cheddar & Bacon Bits (3/4 cup) = 135 calories, 4 g protein, 6 g fat
  • Campbell's Classics Split Pea with Ham & Bacon (3/4 cup) = 135 calories, 7 g protein, 2.3 g fat
  • Campbell's Classic Cream of Potato made with 2% milk (1 cup) = 160 calories, 7 g protein, 5.5 g fat
  • Campbell's Cream of Celery (1 cup) = 100 calories, 1 g protein, 7 g fat.
  • Campbell's Cream of Asparagus made with 2% milk (3/4 cup) = 128 calories, 5 g protein, 7 g fat
  • Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Roasted Garlic made with 2% milk (1 cup) = 130 calories, 7 g protein, 4.5 g fat

Now, for the alternatives, all available at your supermarket.

Supermarket Smoothies and Soy Shakes

  • Odwalla Future Shake Dutch Chocolate (soymilk shake), 8 ounces = 160 calories, 5 g protein, 3 g fat
  • Odwalla Future Shake Vanilla Al'mondo (soymilk shake), 6 ounces = 142 calories, 4 g protein, 4 g fat
  • Yoplait Nouriche smoothie in peach, raspberry, and strawberry flavors (1/2 of an 11 ounce bottle) = 145 calories, 5 g protein, 0 g fat, 3 g fiber, and 24 g sugars


  • Instant French Vanilla Pudding prepared with 2% milk (1/2 cup serving) = 150 calories, 8 g protein, 4 g fat, 18 g sugars
  • Kozy Shack low-fat European Style Rice Pudding or Original Rice Pudding (1/2 cup serving) = 130 calories, 4 g protein, 3 g fat, 14 g sugars

If you want to try making something creamy at home, try these recipes for spinach dip and cheese sauce.

Best Spinach Dip

(1/3 cup dip = 1 serving (or cup) of cream-based soup)

This is a light rendition of that colorful and tasty party staple, the spinach-dip-stuffed sourdough round. You can make the dip and carve out the sourdough round a day ahead of time. Keep the bread in extra-large resealable bags and the dip, covered, in the refrigerator. Then fill the bread "bowl" with dip just before the party.

1/3 cup real mayonnaise
2 1/3 cup fat-free or light sour cream (whichever brand you find tastes best)
1 box dry leek soup mix or vegetable soup mix (1.8 ounce)
1 cup finely chopped jicama (or substitute a 4 ounce can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped)
10 ounce package frozen, chopped spinach (thaw, drain, and squeeze out excess water)
1 pound round loaf of sourdough bread (or similar type)

  • In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, leek soup mix, jicama, and chopped spinach. Chill in the refrigerator 6 hours or overnight.
  • Remove top and interior of sourdough bread round, making a bowl. Fill with spinach mixture. Cut the carved-out bread top into bite-sized cubes for dipping. Serve the spinach dip-filled bread bowl with the bread cubes.

Makes 1 bread bowl (about 16 appetizer servings, 1/3 cup of dip each).

Per serving: 161 calories, 5.5 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fat (0.8 g saturated fat, 1.4 g monounsaturated fat, 2.1 g polyunsaturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 295 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 26%.

3-Cheese Sauce

(1/2 cup sauce = 1 serving (or cup) of cream-based soup)

This sauce can be used to make macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, or cheese-topped broccoli potatoes.

2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup low-fat milk
2 ounces part-skim Jarlsberg or reduced-fat Swiss cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 1/2 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (slightly heaping 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • In a small saucepan, blend flour with 2 tablespoons of the milk to form a smooth paste. Using a wire whisk, slowly blend in remaining milk until smooth.
  • Simmer mixture over medium heat until nicely thickened.
  • Reduce heat and add all three cheeses, garlic powder, and pepper, and stir until well blended and cheese has melted. Remove from heat and use as desired.

Makes about 4 servings of sauce (about 1/2 cup each).

Per serving: 150 calories, 13 g protein, 7 g fat.

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